The Eiffel Tower of Manhattan?
Sharon Lorenzo introduces ASE to the new Hudson Yards,
Fortune Magazine proclaimed that this sculpture in the new Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project might be considered the Eiffel Tower of Manhattan. Looming 150 feet high with a series of 2500 steps in 154 flights of stairs with 80 landings it appears to be part gym, part art, part cultural icon. The Related Companies, headed by Chairman Stephen Ross, interviewed artists from all over the globe and chose Thomas Heatherwick from the United Kingdom to create this effort which cost $200 million dollars from start to finish. Educated at the Royal College of Art in London, Heatherwick is a recipient of the Prince Philip Design Prize and an advocate for fitting art into the needs of the location. He stated, “Every project needs its own philosophy.”
Stephen Ross said the Vessel will be a Christmas Tree for New Yorkers for 12 months every year. Its highly reflective copper colored steel exterior does make it shine in the sun. Heatherwick said he referenced the stepwells used for irrigation and water storage in Western India. Some have origins from 200-400 AD where social gatherings or religious ceremonies were held. Contemporary photographer, Edward Burtynsky, captured one of these from Rajasthan in 2010 called Nagar Kund Baori.
Hudson Yards received a major tax credit of $5.6 billion dollars from the city of New York for this site on Tenth Avenue and 33rd Street which combines retail stores, corporate tenants and family apartments. A total of 28 acres and 720,000 square feet will be planted with 225 trees and 28,000 plants by the Nelson Burd Woltz Landscape Firm. The steel pieces for the sculpture were fabricated and shipped from a town in Northern Italy, Monfalcone, where the project was designed behind steel fences to keep the details a secret. At the north end of the Highline walk, Heatherwick said he felt bound to “protect the idiosyncrasies of New York City and the Hudson River.”
The Related Company is holding a contest to rename the project, and one entry is Shawarma- which is an Indian name for the meat assembled on a vertical skewer by vendors on the street corners of NYC. Originally an invention from Turkey, many meats can be shaved and assembled on a steel spike for delicious treats.Vessel and Shawarma: Vertical Assemblages
Thomas Heatherwick said that as a child he loved playing on the steps near his home. Perhaps this structure with 2500 steps is an adult inspiration which emerged from his childhood. No doubt many will find it to be an architectural pearl added to the many cultural wonders New York City has to offer. Visitors get an amazing view of the Hudson River from the top of the helix. Henry Hudson in his sailboat, The Half Moon, would have enjoyed this structure as he entered New York Harbor in September of 1609 so many years ago.
Timed tickets are available online for a visit to the Vessel free of charge. Some are also released at the site for ascent when there is room. Many restaurants in the Hudson Yard complex makes this a family friendly destination for all ages. Make reservations at: https://www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com/reserve
Header image from www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com
, Shawn Tully, Fortune Magazine, September 14, 2016.
 Nina Azzarello, Designbloom, September 14, 2016.
 Neil Demause, Gothamist, Oct. 11, 2018.
 Naming contest: see www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com